A Fall Themed Toddler Art Project… That Fell Flat

By on 11/08/2013
Finger Paint Printer Paper Fail

Even though I refuse to believe it, Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. Crap! Better get my “tis the season hat” on and maybe do a little seasonal art project with Seb. I assume now that he’s 2 he will give more of a crap about such things and appreciate the specialness of the next 2 months. Also, I am trying to make it a personal goal to spend more time with Seb creating. Anything – tools, art, toys, etc. I want him to think outside of the box and learn to see infinite possibilities with a pile of tissues, boxes, crayons, clothespins and hair ties. (OH MY GOD, AM I TRYING TO BRING BACK MACGYVER?) Even though I am home with him, I still think there is a difference between watching over Seb and engaging with him. I want to engage with him more (see: why I started this blog. Modern health, well-being, more time together with my kid is a great example of this. blah blah.).

So my goal this week was to dive into an art project together. A safe project for a 2 year old to participate in. It would be educational, special, and full of fun.

Weeeellll… Maybe that would have been the case if Seb had a more competent or better prepared parent. I will say, he did have some fun, for about 15 minutes, but the rest of my poorly planned project had lots of bumps and unexpected prep work for mommy. Turns out there are a lot of steps to this project that a 2 year old can’t or won’t help with. Before going with my own idea, I tried finding 2 year old specific art projects and there were none. Now I know why.

As always, I took a ton of poorly lit and blurry photos. Has anyone else realized that kids born today will pretty much have EVERY SINGLE DAY of their life documented in photos? I have the full hard-drives to prove this. Deleting a digital photo feels like a crime!

So, without further ado, I present the not-so-quick-or-easy FALL LEAF GARLAND SUN CATCHERS!

First, the original batch of supplies, pretty self explanatory. Those small canisters are edible, vegetable based finger paints from Wee Can Too.Original Craft Supplies


Step 1: Trace fall leaf patterns onto the felt (I just looked online to find fall leaf shapes). THIS TOOK FOREVER. I waited until Seb’s nap time to do this step, since it involves delicate drawing and cutting with scissors. I thought it would take 20 minutes. 2 HOURS LATER I finished. Maybe make the leaves bigger. Or just don’t use felt (why did I choose felt??), and just print out some damn leaf templates or something.

Felt Fall Leaf Cutouts


Step 2: Mix the veggie based finger paints, and let Seb go to town on white tissue paper. Why tissue paper? Because it’s crinkly and fun and it is translucent enough to let the sunlight through. Why was this a bad idea? See for yourself:

Tissue Paper Finger Paint Fail

That tissue paper fell apart faster than Anthony Weiner’s run for NYC Mayor.


Step 3: When in doubt, printer paper! The art canvas of choice by all ill-prepared toddler parents. This also didn’t work. The paint didn’t spread well so I tried adding the veggie powder first and then letting Seb mix in the water, but no. The finger paint just sort of lumped on top of the paper and formed clusters of muck.A pretty fall leaf this will not make. Even Seb was scratching his head with this one.

Finger Paint Printer Paper Fail


Step 4: Finally give in and whip out the expensive Chemex coffee filters that we actually never use anyway (thanks, Keurig!), along with cheap $1 markers instead of finger paint. Coffee filters and markers are what the internet suggests using for similar projects, but I wanted to be different. I thought my idea of tissue paper and finger paint was far superior and that Seb would have much more fun. But just like my idea to use the microwave for cookies, I was wrong. I should know by now to just stick to the damn instructions: Color on some stupid coffee filters, get them wet and be done, ANNA. Is that so hard?

It doesn’t look pretty on account of the fact that by now Seb was completely over this. He halfheartedly colored on a few filters anyway. He must have sensed my desperation to salvage what was left of my mom dignity.

Coffee Filter Markers Win

Finally! I have colored, semi translucent paper that will catch some damn sun in my FOREVER TO MAKE felt leaves. It should all be downhill from here, right? HA. HA. HA. Woe, I am even more ill equipped. Just you wait.


Step 5: Arrange felt leaves on dried works of art and then glue, cut and cry because this will also take way too long and your kid won’t even care about it anymore but you will because meeemmories and the seeaassoon and quuuallity arrrrrt time.

Fall Leaf Suncatcher Assembly

Also, there are no bonus points for getting all detailed and trying to lightly draw leaf veins with a pencil. JUST LET IT GO ANNA.


Step 6: Realize you have no damn way to hang these accurate representations of your parenting. Go to Target in search of twine and clothespins. Return home with Christmas ornament hooks and cotton rope, because OF COURSE. Exhaustively assemble the garland and allow your toddler who has all but forgotten about this mess to inspect your final product. Hang it over his tiny table in your kitchen, because HE MUST BE SO PROUD. Also, you don’t want guests knowing this was really all you. It’s impressive if your 2 year old did it, but down right depressing to realize this was the best effort of a 30 year old.

Fall Leaves Suncatcher Garlind


Final thoughts:

– I know I snark at myself often, so honestly Seb had fun playing around with the different materials even if he didn’t understand the bigger purpose behind it it. We also spend a good amount of time together, no electronics, no TV, no distractions. Just talking, laughing, problem solving, and getting more creative with solutions than I even intended. He also got a surprise trip to Target, which he loves because he helps push the cart around like the amazing little helper that he is.

– In the future, I should maybe, possibly just follow the damn instructions. I don’t have an art degree, nor do I have a pre-school teaching degree (or whatever they have). I would probably have cut down on my time consuming and boring prep time by infinity had I just followed someone else’s already tested instructions.

– Meh. Whatever. We had fun. We now have a Thanksgivingish decoration displayed in the house. I guess it wasn’t all so bad.


About Anna

Hi there! This is my little blog project where I am trying to learn more about health, wellness and living a balanced life, while also sharing a bit of my silly side as well. By "silly" I mean sarcastic. And by "a bit" I mean way too much. Sorry about that.♥ - Anna

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